the Grand ol’ teahadi tantrum

Why did the government shut down? The blame lies entirely with a radical Republican minority, and the Speaker of the House who flinches from every threatened strike of the tiny balled-up fists of America’s lil’ Taliban.

the Atlantic:

  1. If the House of Representatives voted on a “clean” budget bill — one that opened up the closed federal offices but did not attempt to defund the Obama health care program — that bill would pass, and the shutdown would be over. Nearly all Democrats would vote for it, as would enough Republicans to end the shutdown and its related damage. (And of course it has already passed the Senate, repeatedly, and would be signed by the president.)

  2. So far House Speaker John Boehner has refused to let this vote occur. His Tea Party contingent knows how the vote would go and therefore does not want it to happen; and such is Boehner’s fear of them, and fear for his job as Speaker, that he will not let it take place.

James Fallows, for the Atlantic The Two Basic Facts That Should Be in Every Shutdown Story

Who are these radicals that wield this influence over the Speaker of the House and we the people of the United States? From an interview by Ezra Klein of Robert Costa:

EK: So how do House Republicans end up convincing themselves of unrealistic plans, particularly when they’ve seen them fail before, and when respected voices in the Republican and even conservative establishment are warning against them?

RC: When you get the members off the talking points you come to a simple conclusion: They don’t face consequences for taking these hardline positions. When you hear members talk candidly about their biggest victory, it wasn’t winning the House in 2010. It was winning the state legislatures in 2010 because they were able to *redraw their districts so they had many more conservative voters. The members get heat from the press but they don’t get heat from back home.

Ezra Klein & Robert Costa, for the Washington Post Why Boehner doesn’t just ditch the right

Succinctly summarized in Derek Thompson for the Atlantic’s follow-up to the Two Basic Facts, The Third Basic Fact That Every Government Shutdown Story Should Include:

So, by one close observer’s count, less than 10 percent of the House of Representatives is preventing the government from opening unless the White House defunds its signature legislation. Not a 51-percent majority. Not a 41-percent “filibuster majority.” A 10-percent “bully majority” that has prevailed upon another 10 to 15 percent of the House.

wat

This small group of extremists aren’t interested in a dialog on policy and they have no plan for America. They are not willing to listen to reason, and they never give even the illusion of being open-minded about anything. They dismantle and destroy everything they touch and are unrepentantly dividing a divided House and country even further in the process. They have demonstrated over and over again that they are complete failures at legislating and accomplishing anything constructive in Congress for their country, and the one thing they aren’t monumentally inept at is manipulating their districts back home so that they can poison the well at the voting booth in order to troll the entire country into engaging with them on their completely idiotic ideological positions and throw epic shitfits that they’ve wrapped and ribboned in fairness.

Their goal is to finish what Neocons started over a decade ago: run up an endless tab using our Country’s full faith and credit as collateral in order to bankrupt the entire nation. They believe Government is ineffective and wasteful, so they must make it ineffectual and wasteful in order to gaslight the other 90% of the country into believing their self-fulfilling prophecy is anything more than the deranged sounds of lunatics that are in over their heads.

the “stand-off”

Reports of a bi-partisian break-down that took us to Government Shutdown 2013 are fabricated. The Government has shut down because a cell of radical teahadi extremists have hijacked our plane. They are demanding that the Romney/Ryan Failboat set sail despite the fact that Romney/Ryan themselves campaigned on it and failed to win the Presidency. Desperate for attention and arrogant beyond words they are making demands that they have no business making before they’ll let the doors open, and they have the audacity to stand in front of cameras and every microphone within a hundred miles pretending that it’s the other side that aren’t willing to compromise? Haven’t you heard?

We don’t negotiate with terrorists.

Dear Dr. Mason

an Open Letter to Dr. Sally Mason

I recently submitted a letter (included below) to University of Iowa President Sally Mason, containing a couple of ideas related to reshaping the campus culture away from excessive drinking. After yesterday’s report from the Princeton Review containing the latest rankings of so-called “party schools”, the UI has the dubious honor of being placed in the top spot. This story has become wildly popular with the National media, who dutifully regurgitate the rankings ad nauseam as filler in the 24-hour news cycle.

The rankings are based on surveys in which an average of 333 students per campus are asked 80 questions about a range of subjects in the last three school years. Its methodology uses a five-point scale, allowing for school-to-school comparisons.
CBS News

My admittedly very simple and modest suggestions ((From someone with no credentials at all on this subject, much less a college degree, mind you)) seemed especially relevant and timely, so I was eager to send them to the President herself for no other reason than not wanting to kick myself for saying nothing at all later. I also think that these lists are a disservice to the students, faculty, staff and administration of an undeniably excellent academic institution. I am publishing it here for others to encourage them to think about this issue themselves and to submit their own thoughts, suggestions, concerns, and feedback to the President.

It isn’t just that I am resentful of the notion that the UI is being portrayed as a “party school”, I’m actually more resentful ((and to be honest, a little insulted)) that as a society this is something that would be lauded. These rankings in particular are especially insidious and erosive:

In 2003, the American Medical Association requested that the Princeton Review remove the party school rankings from its college guides. Dr. Richard Yost, director of the AMA’s Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, said, “The Princeton Review should be ashamed to publish something for students and parents that fuels the false notion that alcohol is central to the college experience and that ignores the dangerous consequences of high-risk drinking. College binge drinking is a major public health issue and a source of numerous problems for institutions of higher learning.”

The accuracy of The Princeton Review’s rankings has also been questioned, *especially with regards to the larger schools* ((Emphasis added)). Experts argue that the sample size of students surveyed at each college (three hundred students, on average) is not enough to provide a truthful depiction of student behavior. “It’s positively unscientific,”

Dr. Henry Wechsler of the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Studies Program

To be frank, I have a suspicion ((What can I say, I love a good conspiracy)) that the limited sample set of people surveyed (only 333 on our campus) may be participating in a concerted effort to troll the President, who has taken many steps to curb excessive drunken stupidity at sporting events and in the downtown Iowa City area, alongside other University officials. If that’s the case, like most trolls, they don’t seem to have much of an exit strategy or end-game beyond the hopes of one day being free from their tyrant and putting on a toga to better enjoy a months-long bender with their newly appointed President and former Dos Equis official: The Most Interesting Man in the World.

It’s no secret that there are some vocal people who speak against President Mason and her initiatives and she has had her share of critics in general since she became President in 2007. The table you see below illustrates our meteoric rise to prominence.

“party school” rankings by year

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Year

”Party School” Rank for the UI

2004 Not in Top-20
2005 8th
2006 9th
2007 12th
2008 12th
2009 12th
2010 9th
2011 11th
2012 2nd
2013 WE’RE NUMBER ONE

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It’s very likely that this is completely coincidental, but the fact that the survey methods suck and she’s been laying the smack down extra fierce the last couple of years makes me wonder. Especially considering the timing on this post on the Twitter Machine:

 

I don’t know where they got “No. 4” unless it was from some other equally idiotic list of “party schools”; I think I did a pretty good job of fetching the stories from each year I put in the table using Princeton Review’s press releases and “reports”, but I could have made a mistake. I’m merely trying to adhere to the scientific and methodical standards dictated by the Princeton Review research team.

Anyway, I promised you an Open Letter to Dr. Sally Mason. Thanks for bearing with me for this long.

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